VA Education Benefits Checklist

Navigating higher education can be challenging for any student. It can be especially challenging for students using VA education benefits. That's why we're here to help. Whether you're a first-year student, transfer student, undergraduate or graduate student, our checklist provides you with step-by-step directions to follow when using your VA education benefits at CU.

You’ll start by confirming that your program is approved by the VA, applying to CU Denver and being admitted, and end with submitting our certification request. And, anywhere you run into trouble throughout the process, or have additional questions, your VMSS staff is always ready to assist you at

Complete this checklist if using the following benefits:

  • Montgomery GI Bill® (Chapter 30)
  • Post 9-11 GI Bill® (Chapter 33)
  • Montgomery GI Bill® Selected Reserve (Chapter 1606)
  • Vocational Rehab (Chapter 31)
  • Survivors and Dependents Assistance (Chapter 35)
  • Reserve Educational Program - REAP (Chapter 1607)
For more information about these benefits, go to: VA About GI Benefits.

Looking for Tuition Assistance? Skip the checklist and start here instead.


Check Your Program for VA Approval

Programs and certificates that have not been approved by the State Approving Agency (SAA) and the VA, cannot be certified. Students should check the VA WEAMS Institution Search website to confirm that their program is VA approved so they can receive VA education benefits.

Search for Program Approval

Don't see your program or certificate listed? Programs/certificates not listed cannot be certified, but to begin the process of requesting a new program be added, email Please note that the approval process is administered through SAA and the VA and can take up to 12 months.

Pursuant to the Department of Veterans Affairs regulation on Modifications of Approval Requirements for Courses Designed to Prepare Individuals for Licensure or Certification, for programs designed to prepare an individual for licensure or certification in a particular field/state, the course [of study] must meet all instructional curriculum licensure requirements of such state.

In the event that a student is enrolled in a licensure program in a state where they will not be able to pursue licensure due to the academics of the program, the student may not use VA funds for said program. You can find state-by-state licensure requirements via our State Authorization webpage. Please contact the office of Veteran & Military Student Services with any questions.

Apply to CU Denver and be Admitted

The VA requires that all prior credit be evaluated and military members must submit their military transcripts which can take as long as three weeks to three months to be received and evaluated. Submit your (JST) Joint Services Transcript (for all branches except Air Force) or (CCAF) Community College of the Air Force Transcripts to be evaluated. Some military-connected applicants will be required to submit additional forms when they apply, so be prepared to submit your DD214, if applicable.

JST’s should be requested electronically to allow the “University of Colorado Denver” to download these transcripts.

CCAF Official transcripts must be ordered to be printed and mailed to:

University of Colorado Denver
Office of Admissions
Campus Box 167
PO Box 173364
Denver, CO 80217-3364

Apply for Admission to CU Denver

Apply for Your VA Education Benefits

To use your VA education benefits, you need to apply with the Veteran’s Online Application on the Veterans Affairs website

Submit Your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

By completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you could be eligible for grants, loans, and scholarships. Grants are money given to students from the Federal Government based on financial need and does not need to be paid back. Loans are money that students can borrow, but must be repaid. Scholarships are money that students compete for and do not need to be repaid. 

The FAFSA should be filled out annually, ideally in October when it opens, and will use your tax return information from two years ago.


Register for and Attend Orientation

Orientation is a requirement for both first-year and transfer undergraduate students. In addition to your campus orientation session, Veteran and Military Student Services staff is available to answer your questions during their monthly Zoom orientation sessions for students using benefits. Contact us at for more information or ask your peer advisor for the Veteran and Military Student Services New Student Benefit Brief. CU Denver students should check in with their advisor for orientation details and dates for their school, college, or program.


Orientation options for graduate students are handled differently in each school, college, or program. Graduate School staff is available to help students learn which orientation requirements apply to them.


Register and Enroll in Classes

To have the best chance of getting the courses you need for your program, you should register/enroll for classes through your student portal as soon as possible. Keep close track of the credit hours you’re taking each semester. Your Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is based on what the VA recognizes as a full-time student. Undergraduate students: Full time is 12 overlapping credits for the fall and spring semesters, and six credits for summer semester per the VA rate of pursuit. Graduate students: Full time is five overlapping credits for the fall, spring, and summer semesters. If you take fewer than full-time credits, your BAH will be prorated.

Students in some programs can expect that their benefits will be delayed because they can’t enroll until two weeks to two months prior to the start of the semester. Since the Certification verification and submission process can’t begin until after the student is enrolled, students in the XMBA, One Year MBA, and Global Energy Management (GEM) programs should plan ahead for the delay.


Confirm Your Courses are Required

It’s important to be sure the courses you’re enrolled in are required for your degree program. If they’re not required, we’re unable to certify them. Any course you take that’s not required won’t count toward the full-time credit requirement for VA education benefits. Students who take courses that aren’t certified are responsible for the tuition and fees, so be sure to confirm that courses are required by running a degree audit or contacting your advisor.

If your Degree Audit is unavailable, or if any of your courses fall in the "Work Not Applied" folder, contact your advisor and ask them to verify that those classes are part of your degree plan.

COF Authorization/Review (Undergrads Only)

Select Authorized or Decline COF. It is recommended you select Lifetime Authorization so that funds are automatically applied each semester and only needs to be selected once.

  • Log into your UCDAccess Portal
  • In your "Student Center", select "Student Account"
  • Click "COF Authorization/Review"
  • Follow the instructions to authorize or edit the College Opportunity Fund
  • It is recommended you select Lifetime Authorization (funds are automatically applied each semester, and only needs to be selected once)
  • Finally, click on Submit in the bottom right corner
Log into UCDAccess

Optional Documents


Submit Your Certification Request

The Certification Request is what CU Denver | Anschutz Medical Campus Veteran and Military Student Services uses to track and submit your information to the VA. This must be completed every semester that you want to use your VA Education benefits. Please submit this at least eight weeks before the start of the semester to allow for processing

If there are any changes to your class schedule, please submit another Certification Request.

Benefit-Specific Requirements, Details, and Documents

CU Denver Land Acknowledgement

Acknowledging that we reside in the homelands of Indigenous Peoples is an important step in recognizing the history and the original stewards of these lands. Land acknowledgments must extend far beyond words, the United States has worked hard to erase the narratives of Indigenous Peoples over time. Land acknowledgment statements can help to remind us of the history, the contributions and the sacrifices Native peoples have made.

We honor and acknowledge that we are on the traditional territories and ancestral homelands of the Cheyenne, Arapaho, and Ute nations. This area, specifically the confluence of the Platte and Cherry Creek Rivers was the epicenter for trade, information sharing, planning for the future, community, family and ally building, as well as conducting healing ceremonies for over 45 Indigenous Nations, including the Lakota, Kiowa, Comanche, Apache, Shoshone, Paiute, Zuni, Hopi among others.

We must recognize Indigenous peoples as the original stewards of this land and as these words of acknowledgment are spoken and heard, remember the ties these nations still have to their traditional homelands. Let us acknowledge the painful history of genocide and forced removal from this territory and pay our respect to the diverse Indigenous peoples still connected to this land. Let us also give thanks to all Tribal Nations and the ancestors of this place.

Gracie RedShirt Tyon, Lakota, Director, American Indian Student Services

GI Bill® is a registered trademark of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)

More information about education benefits offered by VA is available at the official U.S. government website at